Mbeki says the Mujurus are not tribalists


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Moeletsi Mbeki, brother of former South African President Thabo Mbeki, told United States embassy officials that Joyce and Solomon Mujuru were not “Shona tribalists” like President Robert Mugabe or Emmerson Mnangagwa.

He said the election of Joyce Mujuru as vice-President could even encourage Mugabe to retire as the Mujurus had been loyal to him from the beginning and he trusted them completely.

Mbeki, who worked as a journalist in Zimbabwe for eight years, said the international community should view Zimbabwe as a long term project and focus on building processes to produce results in 10 to 15 years instead of chasing Mugabe’s retirement.

He said civil society in Zimbabwe was very weak and urged increased support for building a more robust civil society sector.

He said the same applied to the Movement for Democratic Change. The party had emerged so fast as a political force that it never engaged in the difficult and time-consuming work of organising for a long term struggle.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 04PRETORIA5369, MOELETSI MBEKI CALLS ZIMBABWE A “LONG-TERM

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

04PRETORIA5369

2004-12-14 08:20

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Pretoria

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PRETORIA 005369

 

SIPDIS

 

FOR AF/S B. NEULING AND T. CRAIG

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/14/2014

TAGS: KDEM PHUM PREL SF ZI

SUBJECT: MOELETSI MBEKI CALLS ZIMBABWE A “LONG-TERM

PROJECT”; URGES SUPPORT FOR MDC

 

REF: JOHANNESBURG 527

 

Classified By: Amb. Jendayi E. Frazer

Reasons 1.4(b) and (d)

 

1. (C) Summary. Moeletsi Mbeki, South African political

commentator and brother of President Thabo Mbeki, urged the

international community to stop “chasing” Mugabe’s retirement

and view Zimbabwe as a “long-term project.” He called for

increased international support for the MDC and Zimbabwean

civil society. In his view, the MDC represents a new type of

political party in Africa — non-racial, non-ethnic — and

thus is a threat to the old style African political parties

and also a valuable asset in rebuilding sub-Saharan Africa.

Mbeki suggested that the recent election of Joyce Mujuru as

Vice President is a positive sign that could lead to

Mugabe,s retirement in the future since Mugabe trusts her

and her husband. Mugabe made a big mistake by deporting

COSATU, Mbeki argued, because its two million members are now

energized, although he did not believe this would alter South

African policy in the short-term. End Summary.

 

2. (C) On December 7, 2004, U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe,

Christopher Dell, and PolOff met with Moeletsi Mbeki, brother

of President Thabo Mbeki and Executive Chairman of Endemol

South Africa, a television production company. Mbeki is also

Deputy Chairperson of the South African Institute for

International Affairs, a well-respected foreign policy think

tank. A prominent political commentator in his own right,

Mbeki has been publicly and sharply critical of the

Government of Zimbabwe in recent years. Mbeki worked as a

journalist in Zimbabwe from 1982-1990. (Comment: Mbeki is

reportedly not particularly close to his brother the

President.)

 

——————————-

Observations on Zimbabwe Crisis

——————————-

 

3. (C) Discussing the political crisis in Zimbabwe, Mbeki

suggested that the international community needs to view the

country as a “long-term project.” He urged focus on building

processes now to produce results in 10-15 years, not

“chasing” Mugabe,s retirement.

 

4. (C) Mbeki observed that civil society in Zimbabwe is quite

weak and urged increased support for building a more robust

civil society sector. He noted that the MDC emerged so fast

as a political force that it never engaged in the difficult

and time-consuming work of organizing for a long-term

struggle. Comparing Zimbabwe to South Africa, Mbeki observed

that the roots of civil society in South Africa go back to

the early 19th century, particularly the black churches.

During the anti-apartheid struggle, the entire society played

a role — the political parties, business, churches,

academics and unions. Zimbabwe does not have the same

tradition. The liberation in Zimbabwe resulted from the

military actions of two armies, ZANLA and ZIPRA, not a

broad-based movement. (Comment: This interpretation

seemingly exaggerates the significance of the military might

of the liberation movements and underestimates the role of

neighboring countries like Tanzania, Zambia, and Mozambique,

the international community, and Zimbabwean churches, in

pushing for a negotiated settlement.)

 

———————————

MDC Represents Future of Zimbabwe

———————————

 

5. (C) Mbeki painted a positive picture of the Zimbabwe,s

main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change

(MDC). Mbeki claimed that the MDC represented the future of

Zimbabwe; ZANU-PF is a “spent force.” In his view, the

international community needs to focus on supporting the MDC.

(Comment: most South African commentators emphasize the

weaknesses of the MDC and do not/not share Mbeki,s upbeat

assessment.) What MDC needs, Mbeki said, is state patron,

just as the Soviet Union supported the ANC. Mbeki suggested

that the United Kingdom would be the most natural ally,

despite the fact that Mugabe would use this against the MDC.

Mbeki pointed out that Mugabe already labels the MDC a tool

of imperialist Britain, so would have little to lose by an

open identification with the U.K.

 

6. (C) In Mbeki,s view, the MDC represented a new type of

party in political Africa — non-ethnic, non-racial — a

“mega-achievement.” The MDC is thus a valuable asset in

rebuilding sub-Saharan Africa. It also represents a threat

to the old style, ethnic parties around the continent,

including even the ANC. In this vein, Mbeki observed that,

for political reasons, the ANC likes having an opposition

party, the Democratic Alliance, headed by a white person.

 

7. (C) Mbeki pointed out several weaknesses in the MDC.

First, they do not know how to ask for help, even from

sympathetic African governments like Nigeria, Ghana or Kenya.

Second, the MDC should make private property rights a key

part of their political platform, essentially using the land

issue against Mugabe. The MDC is afraid to do so because

they fear being labeled defenders of white farmers. Mbeki

suggested this is short-sighted since Mugabe,s land policy

also resulted in massive job losses for commercial

farmworkers, a key core constituency for the MDC. Finally,

the MDC needs to mobilize the talented and huge constituency

living in South Africa.

 

———————–

Recent ZANU-PF Congress

———————–

 

8. (C) Mbeki viewed the recent ZANU-PF party congress

positively. He said that the “Mujurus,” Vice President Joyce

Mujuru and her husband Solomon Mujuru, were not “Shona

tribalists” like Mugabe or Parliamentary Speaker Mnangagwa.

Mujuru,s election as Vice President might even encourage

Mugabe to step down at some point in the future. Mbeki

speculated that Mugabe would retire only if he had total

confidence that his successor would not turn on him. The

Mujurus have been loyal to Mugabe from the beginning, and he

trusts them completely.

 

—————————————-

Expulsion of COSATU Mugabe’s Big Mistake

—————————————-

 

9. (C) Mbeki claimed that the expulsion of COSATU from

Zimbabwe (see reftel) was Mugabe,s “biggest error.” The

SAG,s reaction to the deportation — suggesting that COSATU

“got what it deserved” — was upsetting to COSATU’s two

million members and will resonate politically in the future.

However, Mbeki thought it unlikely that the SAG would change

its Zimbabwe policy, even if pressure from COSATU grew.

Mbeki speculated that the ANC political strategists believed

(wrongly in his opinion) that they did not need active labor

support to win future elections.

 

10. (C) Mbeki also observed that most South Africans are not

interested in foreign policy. To them, Africa is a big

headache, a source of illegal immigration and crime. They

see President Mbeki,s activities in Cote d,Ivoire, DRC and

Burundi as nothing more than a “presidential hobby.”

 

11. (U) Ambassador Dell cleared on this message.

FRAZER

 

(6 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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